Friday, August 27, 2010

And the Water Whispered, "Amanda"

For my Friday off, I did not make any plans with anyone, except for a round of disc golf in the evening. Most of my spare time is consumed with 'have to's, so I decided to fill this particular Friday with 'want to's.

I did a few things that people who come to Copper Harbor can enjoy: picking chokecherries (almost two gallons in under an hour!), riding a bike to and around the town, eating lunch at the Harbor Haus and taking time to talk with a few friends. Not too shabby, hey?

All the while I was doing these things, I watched the kayakers on the lake. That would be so nice, I thought. Then I saw more of them. I do wish I was out on the water. Yes, I want to go kayaking. It really was a lovely idea, but there was one little problem. I don't have a kayak.

You may or may not have read my post two summers ago about how I practiced for Isle Royale by paddling in a huge aluminum canoe with a kayak paddle. It took me an hour to paddle two miles. And I still had to paddle back! Smart.

Well, today really took the cake. I no longer have a canoe, but access to a 14 foot aluminum boat. I could just tool around in that, Smart Amanda told herself. Sure, sure. I can take this kayak paddle apart and use it as an oar. I also have this tiny life vest meant for a 3-year-old that I can just in case. Maybe I'll make it to Porter's Island! That's not so far.

I was able to get that boat into the water all by myself. I hopped in and shipped out. The water was calm, with a breeze from the south south east. A beautiful day to be out on the water.

By the time I actually paddle out from my house, Porter's Island looked miles away (really almost a mile). Whew, at least I realized that was an impossible task before I got half way out there. I paddled out a little way and stopped to bask in the sun. Ahhh. Just what I wanted.

When I looked around me again, I realized I was floating farther from home. That wasn't a big deal, but this boat that weighed at least as much as me was not going to be too easy to bring back home with half a paddle against the wind. So I paddled to a shallower area to drop anchor.

After producing quite a bit of sweat, I made it to a place to drop anchor. Since you probably worry about me when I do smart things like this, I will not even tell you how smart I was with this process. I concluded that I would not leave the anchor in the water. That way, I would not flip the boat. Oy.

But I couldn't just sit and float without drifting farther away, so my leisurely tool in the Harbor turned into a heck of a workout. Against the wind, I paddled back to my house.

Here is where I really felt smart. I watched objects on the lake floor as I paddle with all my might. They weren't really moving. I watched the houses along the shore. They were going nowhere as well. I realized, as I used my core strength, my arms and that stinkin' little paddle, that I was wasting a lot of energy. Good thing I didn't have any plans to be on time for.

I'm not much of a swimmer, but I could have back-floated faster I paddled that boat. If the water wasn't so cold today, I would have pushed or pulled it some how back to my house. Oh, if any of my neighbors saw me, I hope they had a good laugh. I probably looked real intelligent out there -- going no where while using all my might.

I did accomplish my goal of being on the water, however. I also know that I will never take that boat out again by myself. I'm too smart for that.

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